Kansas LCC revokes eviction and foreclosure executive order, extends Emergency Declaration to mid-June

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 11:14 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The state’s Emergency Declaration for COVID-19 is extended through June 15, but a pause on evictions and foreclosures is over.

The Kansas Legislative Coordinating Council voted, 6-2, Friday morning to extend the state’s COVID-19 state of emergency.

All six of the republicans in the state’s Legislative Coordinating Council voted to extend the covid-19 emergency declaration through the middle of June -- two weeks shorter than governor Laura Kelly proposed.

They said it’s time to start winding down the response. House Majority Leader Daniel Hawkins argued when it is time to stop.

“When are these extensions going to stop? We can always find a reason for the extension,” he said.

Senate President Ty Masterson said the pandemic is not over but it’s time to look forward.

“I do think what we’re seeing right now is not that’s over but that there needs to be a short extension with an exit strategy,” he said. “That everyone can understand and that the public can understand.”

The two Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes, and House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer voted no.

Sykes said the pandemic has evolved and so have the governor’s decisions.

“The emergency declarations, the responses, the executive orders, they are being cut down,” she said. “We are slowly abating those, but to just completely flip the switch and say this is over -- I think it is ridiculous, it is not in the best interest of our state. We do risk losing those federal dollars.”

Sawyer argued it’s not the right time to slow down with the virus still in the state.

“I don’t think we can pretend to just magically say, ‘it’s over, it’s over.” We still have a lot of people that need to get vaccinated. My concern is that we don’t want to wind this down too quickly. When I hear this, people saying it’s winding down, there’s still -- I think it’s too soon,” he said.

Hawkins said Kelly’s office needs to come up with a plan now after a month and a half of knowing the declaration could be ended.

“In a month and a half, you would have thought that if you knew things were going to come to an end you would have already had an exit strategy, a way to stop this, and they said no. I would bet you that if the General was asked the question -- he would have a plan pretty quickly but he’s not been instructed to have a plan.”

The vote also included immediately revoking Kelly’s executive order prohibiting certain evictions and foreclosures for people affecting by COVID-19. Kelly’s spokesperson Reeves Oyster wrote it is important to get Kansas back to Normal. That Major General David Weishaar, who oversees the National Guard’s assistance with vaccine deliveries and clinics, has been clear about the importance of the declaration.

She wrote quote, “As we finally start to recover from this global pandemic, now is not the time to kick people out of their homes. Governor Kelly will continue to focus on doing what’s right – and not what’s politically convenient.”

The council will meet on June 15 to consider another extension. The Emergency Declaration has been in place since March 2020.

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